Chess, My thoughts, Personal

Unschooling Diaries #11 : Today was a Great Day!

Today was a great day. From many days I was struggling to find people to practise chess with. But today we connected with over 30+ plus people who live near my house and are ready to meetup to play chess! So how did this miracle happen? How we go from 0 people from months to suddenly 3 dozen people. 

So we can say one thing led to another. Last week I had gone to a chess tournament, over there we met someone and told him about our problem. So. he added us to a WhatsApp Group where all the chess parents of Bengaluru are there. He said us to post regarding our problem over there and we will probably find someone. So over one week had gone we didn’t post anything, but today we finally decided to start the conversation. All we suggested was are chess players living around Koramangala interested to meetup and play few games. That is it and under one hour the whole group was on fire! Everybody was responding. By afternoon there were 6 different groups for 6 different areas and over 100+ people in total.

Apparently everybody was facing this issue of offline playing practise. We ourselves were struggling from such a long time. And it took just a 2 simple steps to resolve it. The saying is true ” The best solutions are often simple yet unexpected.” Look around you, is there anything you are struggling with right now? Maybe talking to your neighbor, friend, or somebody will help. This is one thing I have learnt in life, and is now firmly engraved in my mind with what happened today. Talking to people always helps.

Chess, My thoughts, Parenting, Personal

My First Sparring Round

Swami Vivekananda once said, “You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita.”

My coach told me, when I joined him, that when he sees someone’s chess games: he gets to know the exact personality of the person. I didn’t understand him then until I saw it for myself. When a person plays any sport: Boxing, Chess, or Football, his/her personality, fears and nature is laid out like a blueprint. 

And that is one of the most beautiful things about sports: you can’t hide. Your fears and inner demons will come out and you have to face them. Isn’t it a great tool for self-betterment and analysis? To me, it is surely the next best thing to meditation!


Online Chess Resources You Must Know About

Check out these free chess tools to up your game

The Internet is efficient, cheap, and portable. Plus, it has made knowledge accessible and equalized opportunity for all. Who would have thought that we could study, analyze, and play with just the effort of a few clicks. I have been utilizing some chess tools and sites in my practice for a long time. So I wanted to share some of them with you too, as they have enormously helped me. So, let us read on. 

  1. is an online chess database and community. They are my number one go-to option for chess games. In fact, they have 1,076,000 + games! One can download, analyze, and discuss efficiently with their easy and fast user interface. They also have a members option in which one can post forums, suggest a game of the day, practice guess-the-move, and much more. It has so many features- they are impossible to cover in one article. They also have games sorted according to themes like KID, Attack, Isolated Queen Pawn, etc. 

  1.    Blindfold Chess Offline

We all know the importance of practicing visualization in chess. It improves calculation, speed, and intuition. I too was struggling with this for a long time. Until I found this app which is a diamond in the rough for all the players out there. Blindfold Chess Offline – Available for all android devices, and as the name suggests doesn’t require an internet connection. It has many cool features like alarm, achievement tabloid, play with friend/computer, etc. I have personally benefited a lot from it and hope you do too!


Who doesn’t know this beloved chess website? But besides being a popular playing platform, Lichess also has many educational features. Let us see a few of them in detail.

  1. Puzzles

Lichess has many variants in this:- Puzzle racer, storm, streak, etc. Using these features has helped me improve speed and tactics. Plus, there are also many themes like endgame, double-check, motifs, and many, many more.

  1. Practise 

Though I have never actually tried this feature, just from skimming through it I was convinced that it is more than enough. It starts with basic checkmates then moves onto intermediate tactics and then endgames. There are many levels. 

  1. Study

A study in Lichess is where one can analyze his/her games, learn, and teach. I and my friends used to use the voice chat feature and do group study. It also has many inbuilt tools like board editor, opening explorer, chat, etc.

*Pro-tip – If you want to learn a certain topic, for example, The Caro-Kann/Panov attack, then go to ‘all studies’, type in search “Caro-Kann/Panov attack”. This will show a variety of public studies all created by users and even some coaches, titled players, etc. It is a quick and easy way to gain quality information on a topic. 

Head over there afterward and try out some of these features and please do tell me your opinion on them. is another favorite when it comes to playing platforms. Analysis boards, puzzles, lessons, and a lot more make it also a great website for learning and improvement. Even though I have never played there much myself, I know it has a great user interface and quality content. If you are an enthusiast and regular player, then I highly recommend getting the subscription.* Unlimited puzzles, analysis, and video library, and much more are just some of the benefits of this. And even if you don’t have a subscription then there is still a bucket load of activities one can do like clubs, forums, games, etc


FollowChess is an app that my coach recommended to us, for following live games around the world. One can watch and follow top tournaments happening around the globe live. Plus one can keep a watchlist and search for upcoming tournaments. They also have a built-in video to see commentary side-by-side. Some other features of this app are seeing live standings, downloading games in PGN format, etc. If you have “Analyze This” then you can import games directly from there for advanced analysis.

Analyze This

A must-have for all the chess players out there. Enter your games with ease and analyze with or without a data connection. Also, download games and share efficiently in pgn format. Or import from LiChess and FollowChess for free downloading and sharing. You can also use the help of engines like Stockfish for analysis. Some other features are ‘comment on moves’, put annotations, etc.

In conclusion,
So, these are some of the tools that have greatly helped me in my practice. And I am more than sure there are many more out there. One can even use social media for their improvement, for example, YouTube. So do you have any chess tools you want to share with us? Please do too in the comment section and tell me what you thought about this article. Also, check out some more of my chess articles below.


The Best Chess YouTubers to Watch Out for to Step Up Your Game

Find out how the internet has evened out the playing field for everyone

Recently, I have participated in a few OTB tournaments. Over there I met many people who had not received any professional coaching yet had a 50% win rate. Even more than some rated players! I asked them their secret and they told me YouTube had helped them a great deal. YouTube has made knowledge accessible and affordable for everyone. Browse through many FM’s, IM’s, and GM’s posting quality and knowledgeable content online.  The best part about youtube is it adds a fun twist to learning. All of this aside I have to say YouTube can obviously never equal a teacher but can only make do. Let us now dive into the world of Chess YouTubers and streamers. 

  1. ChessBase India 

ChessBase India is an organization that helps boost chess in India. They also have a YouTube Channel which is very Informative and contains games sorted according to openings and players. They have more than 100+ videos on how to improve your chess, 100+videos on endgames, and even opening preparations. The Founder and host IM Sagar Shah and his wife, COO, and co-host WIM Amruta Mokal also cover all the major tournaments happening around the world. The best players in the world like Anish Giri, Teimour Rajdabov, Garry Kasparov, etc make regular appearances on this channel. They also have a members feature which one can join by paying a monthly fee of anywhere between 1 to 10 USD, depending on the person’s wish. The entire money which is collected by the end of the month will be given to financially weak chess players to help them on their journey. 

  1. GothamChess

GothamChess will be one of the first YouTubers whose name comes to mind when talking about chess channels. Founded and hosted by IM Levy Rozman, the channel is named after his hometown New York. GothamChess stands apart from others because of his unique way of explaining things, which is fun and very to understand. He not only analyses master’s games but also games of lower rating ranges like 1200 or 1400. Let us see few of his series

  1. Win At Chess
  2. Chess History
  3. Guess the Elo
  4. Endgames
  5. Chess Tips
  6.   Chess Lessons Collabs
  7. Magnus Tour 2020, Lindores Abbey, Chessable Masters, The Legends of Chess, The Final
  8. How To solve Chess Tactics
  9. GothamChess Openings
  10. GothamChess Guide

3. Agadmator’s Chess Channel

Agadmator is a channel founded and managed by Antonio Radić, a Candidate Master from Croatia. As of April 2021, his was the 2nd most famous chess channel with 1.16 million subs only surpassed by GothamChess with 1.23 million subs. Antonio analyzes Master Games on his channel. There is rarely a game you won’t find there:- Old Games, Recent Games, Just Played Games, World Championship Games, First encounters, Last Encounters, and many more. His explanations are lucid and deep. One learns openings, chess facts, and chess history from his videos. I guarantee you will keep coming back for more. 

4. Hanging pawns

I have returned to Hanging Pawns numerous number of times for opening repertoire and preparation tips. Tomic, Stjepan the founder and host describes his channel as ‘ a chess channel for players who are trying to improve (by a player who is trying to improve).’ If nothing else his own story is very inspiring and motivating. Stjepan started playing chess very late (his first tournament game was at the age of 26) and his aim is to work hard everyday until he becomes a GM, his current elo is 1984. His channel is very organized and contains videos on many openings, almost all the openings one can think of. He also has game analysis and endgames on his channel. 

5. Remote Chess Academy 

Founded by GM Igor Smirnov, Remote Chess Academy is a great YouTube channel for newbies trying to improve. It has many traps, opening lines, and game analysis. His explaining style is clear, distinctive, and easy to understand. Even other titled players come and give guest lectures on the channel. He also has a blog and a website, where you can shop for his courses. 

6. ChessMood 

I was really confused about whether I should choose Saint Louis Chess Club or ChessMood to write about.  And although Saint Louis definitely has more content, It is for the more serious players(a.k.a It is kind of hard to keep awake till the end of the video). ChessMood on the other hand has short, lite, and engaging lessons which keep the interest of the viewer and appeal to them to come back again and again. Mainly hosted by GM Avetik Grigoryan, They have an entire team of 5 GMs who regularly post videos, answer their viewers’ questions, etc. They even have a website which is definitely worth checking out, and I even recommend subscribing to the newsletter. Their motto is ‘Right Mood = Right Move’. What makes them great is the fact, they just don’t want to make a few bucks, but sincerely want their students to improve.      

Some other, must-see YouTubers

  1. Eric Rosen
  2. Saint Louis Chess Club   
  4. Chess Talk

In summary, 

So guys, there you go, I have covered all the chess YouTubers, I hope I didn’t leave out anyone. If you have any suggestions, please do drop them in the comment section below. If you like my content please like and share. Remember Vladimir Kramnick once said “ Chess is body-building. If you train every day you stay in top shape. It is the same with your brain- Chess is a matter of daily training.” 

Chess, Personal

Can’t Break the 1800 LiChess Mark? You Must be Doing At least One of these Six Things Wrong.

Hello, to all the chess lovers out there! We all agree crossing 1800 even on lichess is no piece of cake. I remember It took me 14 months to increase my online rating from 1300 to 1840! But no matter how hard it might seem it is not impossible. And all of us can do it if we set our minds to it. The following 6 rules were the entire reason I was able to break the 1800 mark. And though there is no set course to success, it is hard to go wrong with these expert verified tips to guide you.

  1. Stick to one opening

Yes, it is important not to keep changing your repertoire. Instead, it is best to learn one opening thoroughly and wholly. By switching openings you fail to learn anyone properly which results in tilt. And always remember to prepare first and then play. Like this, you are not playing mindlessly and can analyze and learn from your mistakes. It also improves game quality. One question which might come to mind is which opening to pick? And though there are many great ones out there, I consider the Italian Game the best choice for beginners. It is attacking and not very positional or dull. It is easy to understand and has way less theory compared to other openings. 

  1. Tactics, tactics, tactics!

Tactical mistakes and motives are found everywhere from world championship matches to beginners games. Capablanca once said chess is 90 percent tactics. Attack, combinations, sacrifices, give chess its attractive flamboyance. And although they are found everywhere, they are obviously more abundant in lower-level games. And it is guaranteed with basic positional knowledge and a good tactical foundation crossing at least 1600 is just a piece of cake. One of the best ways to improve tactics is to solve this book- The Woodpecker Method

  1. Practice daily

Training the mind is like training the body. If you train in bursts instead of every day the effort is useless. Take out as much time as you can: 2 hours or half an hour, solve puzzles, read books, analyze games but remember your playing time is not counted. I have seen many people make that mistake. They will study for only half an hour then play for 1-1 ½ hours. Remember, the majority of your time should go into the study, not playing. Otherwise, your rating will start dropping instead of increasing. 

  1. Study master’s games

The best way to learn openings, strategy, principles, etc is from studying games, for example, Grandmaster games, classics, world championship games, online blitz games, etc. It also improves pattern recognition and intuition. There are many ideas we can take from masters games and try to apply in our play. We learn new positions, how to play them ,and the basic plans and ideas of that position. Some books which helped me a lot are:-

My 60 Memorable Games – Robert James Fischer

200 Miniature Games of Chess – Du Mont

Alekhine: My Best Games(1908 – 1923) – Alexander Alekhine

*Pro Tip: Use a board and study annotated games.

  1. Play a lot

If we don’t play then it will be impossible to make sense of all the things that we are studying. Playing is like putting to practice all that we have learned. The tournaments might be closed because of the pandemic, but playing online is good enough. Playing provides us with experience. Analyzing our games helps us realize our mistakes, so we can work on improving them. Playing slower formats is good for game quality but playing blitz and bullet for improving time management and intuition. 

  1. Keep in good shape

It might not seem like it but chess requires one to be physically and mentally fit. If you are not healthy you will find difficulty in sitting for a long time and concentrating. Keeping a balanced diet prevents drowsiness and tiredness between tournaments. Exercising regularly keeps one active and sharp. 

Pro Tip* Maintain good posture. Craning the neck too much is not good. Find comfortable posture sitting on a chair and desk.

In Summary,

Chess is a tough but beautiful sport. Just enjoy it and have fun. Becoming 1800 is only a goal but it is more important to enjoy the journey. Do not play to increase your rating but only because you want to play. Remember you will never become 1800 if you give up at 1600 or 1700. So,  keep trying and all the best!